This is the moment a 16-year-old was attacked by a shark while surfing off beach in Florida known to be the ‘unofficial shark bite capital of the world.’
Doyle Nielson, from Georgia, was paddling his surfboard in New Smyrna Beach before the accident happened around 1.20pm on September 9.
Footage shows a six-foot shark slicing through the waves before taking out a chunk of Nielson’s arm which needed nine stitches.
Nielson initially thought another surfer had hit him, and didn’t realize that he had been bitten until fellow surfers who saw the attack, warned him to get out of the water.
‘It felt like someone on their surfboard had come full speed directly at me and hit me super hard,’ Nielson told ABC news.
The clip showing the harrowing attack was recorded by Sam Scribner, a photographer who happened to be filming New Smyrna’s waves
‘It felt like someone on their surfboard had come full speed directly at me and hit me super hard,’ Nielson said. Pictured is Nielson minutes before he was attacked by a shark in New Smyrna Beach
The teenager made it safely to the shore, where he was treated by Ocean Rescue and only needed nine stitches.
Witnesses said the shark was about six-feet long.
Nielson was among dozens of beachgoers who were surfing the strong wells left behind by Hurricane Larry. He said that his passion for surfing remains intact and he will back surfing soon.
‘I’ll definitely be surfing again, but I know that it’ll affect my mindset. Like, I’ll be a little more cautious in the water,’ Nielson said.
The clip showing the harrowing attack was recorded by Sam Scribner, a photographer who happened to be filming New Smyrna’s waves.
‘Larry certainly brought us good waves, but apparently the true locals of Ponce Inlet weren’t happy about the crowd,’ he wrote on an Instagram post, referencing how the beach is infamous for its sharks.
‘I certainly don’t want to villainize sharks, this is something that’s all too common in the waters around New Smyrna Beach.
‘We are in their territory and sometimes those little (thankfully he was little) guys like to enact the stand your ground law. (No glocks, just teeth),’ he added.
Sixteen-year-old Doyle Nielson was bitten by a shark while he was surfing in New Smyrna Beach on September 9. Nielson was treated by Ocean Rescue once he made it to the shore and only needed nine stitches
Volusia County has an average of nine shark attacks per year, according to the International Shark Attack File. Nielson’s is the tenth attack of 2021.
In New Smyrna beach, surfers are ten times more likely to be bitten by sharks than anywhere else in the world, but the attacks do not tend to be severe.
Sharks are attracted to the beach by the high number of baitfish resulting from the strong tidal flow.
‘The vast majority of incidents that occur there are very minor bites from juvenile blacktip sharks.’
‘In places like New Smyrna, where the water is murky, the blacktip sharks can’t see very well. So, they are likely reacting to flashes of movement. This could be a nice mullet or a human’s foot,’ the manager of the Florida Program for Shark Research, Tyler Bowling told The Daytona News.
The county’s first shark attack this year happened in April when a shark bit a 64-year-old woman in the foot while she was sitting on a paddle board. She was treated for lacerations in her foot but did not sustain major injuries.
Nielson said that his passion for surfing remains intact and he will back surfing soon. ‘I’ll definitely be surfing again, but I know that it’ll affect my mindset. Like, I’ll be a little more cautious in the water,’ he said
Less than a month later, in May, 21-year-old woman was attacked by a shark in while she was wading in 4ft deep water.
In a second attack in May, a 12-year-old girl from Palm Beach was the victim of a shark attack the day before memorial day.
In June alone, a 71-year-old-man, a 12-year-old boy and a 8-year-old boy were attacked. Three more shark attacks followed in July, before a 35-year-old local was bit on his foot in August.
‘When people are paddling on their board, the soles of their feet catch the light and very quickly, in exactly the same way the scales on a mullet or a menhaden might catch the light,’
‘And when you’re a predator, you don’t tarry. You have to be quick and make a quick decision,’ the International Shark Attack File director Gavin Naylor Spectrum News.